Peter, B. G., Messina, J. P., Lin, Z., and Snapp, S. S. Crop climate suitability mapping on the cloud: A geovisualization application for sustainable agriculture. 2020. Scientific Reports 10(15487). doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-72384-x
Climate change, food security, and environmental sustainability are pressing issues faced by today’s global population. As production demands increase and climate threatens crop productivity, agricultural research develops innovative technologies to meet these challenges. Strategies include biodiverse cropping arrangements, new crop introductions, and genetic modification of crop varieties that are resilient to climatic and environmental stressors. Geography in particular is equipped to address a critical question in this pursuit—when and where can crop system innovations be introduced? This manuscript presents a case study of the geographic scaling potential utilizing common bean, delivers an open access Google Earth Engine geovisualization application for mapping the fundamental climate niche of any crop, and discusses food security and legume biodiversity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The application is temporally agile, allowing variable growing season selections and the production of ‘living maps’ that are continually producible as new data become available. This is an essential communication tool for the future, as practitioners can evaluate the potential geographic range for newly-developed, experimental, and underrepresented crop varieties for facilitating sustainable and innovative agroecological solutions.